Google Fiber launches fellowship in Charlotte to achieve digital inclusion

Google Fiber launches fellowship in Charlotte to achieve digital inclusion

CHARLOTTE, NC (Sarah Chaney/The Charlotte Observer) - Technology giant Google and the Nonprofit Technology Network on Thursday launched a fellowship program in Charlotte and seven other metro areas with the goal of helping people who have limited digital access.

The Digital Inclusion Fellowship will pair 16 people with local community organizations in eight metro areas where Google is installing new high-speed fiber networks. The fellows will spend a year developing digital inclusion programs.

In Charlotte, the two fellows will work with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and the Urban League of Central Carolinas.

The library fellow will build a "digital citizenship program" designed to assist new Internet users at the library branches with online tools. Google said. The Urban League fellow will, among other projects, create and build a computer skills course and help clients take their GEDs online.

Andrew Bentley, Google Fiber's national digital inclusion program manager, said the company selected these two organizations because they have strong motives to collaborate.

"We're looking for grassroots and solid organizations in Charlotte that provide services for under-served communities, and these two fit the bill," Bentley said.

Google Fiber is looking for fellows who have excellent communication skills, as well as five to seven years of experience working in nonprofits or community organizations. All fellows will have full-time, salaried positions of $33,000 and receive benefits such as health care and vacation.

To apply, interested fellows must complete an application online. Applications will be taken through June 10.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google announced in January that Charlotte was among the next cities where it will be installing its high-speed Internet service.

When the company launched its first fiber service in the Kansas City area, Google faced criticism because economically disadvantaged neighborhoods were slow to sign up. In Charlotte, Google has said it will work to bridge the digital divide, offering affordable basic service packages, providing free service to community groups and by promoting connectivity.